Glentoran youngster Jordan Stewart shoots down Ballymena United with virtuoso display
Ballymena United 3 Glentoran 4: It was 45 minutes after the end of Glentoran's win that manager Eddie Patterson finally emerged from the away dressing room at Ballymena, but he had a very good reason.
He had just signed 18-year-old Jordan Stewart on a two-and-a-half-year contract after the diminutive, baby-faced winger had just produced a second successive man of the match performance, scoring his first two senior goals in the process.
"Thanks to the young lad, we came in at 1-1 at half-time," said a delighted Patterson.
"We probably should have been two or three down with the chances they had, but there was a few harsh words by the coaching staff at half-time and there was a fantastic response.
"Jordan had an opportunity to get his hat-trick and although he didn't take it, he is an exciting wee player and hence the reason why we invited his mother and father up today to sort things out, and we have come to an agreement."
It was something positive for Patterson to talk about after having to start his post-match interview with an explanation of why events boiled over in the closing stages of what had been an error-ridden match.
Patterson would have come to blows with opposite number Glenn Ferguson but for the intervention of the fourth official and there was much pushing and shoving among the players.
A clash between Mark Miskimmin and Davy Munster had kicked it all off but it was a comment by Patterson which the Ballymena boss took offence at.
Patterson admitted he was in the wrong.
"I could have used a better terminology when telling Mark Miskimmin to come away from Davy Munster and for that I apologise for what I said. There was nothing personal in it but I spoke to 'Spike' afterwards and hope he has accepted my apology.
"The referee saw nothing on the field but we will have an internal investigation and if anything untoward happened then as a club we will deal with it," said Patterson.
Miskimmin took to Twitter yesterday, and had his say: "Just 2 clarify I did not spit on anyone spike shud concentrate on getting his team out of a relegation battle than deflect attention."
Ferguson refused to comment on anything that happened off the pitch, but although his 10th place side have now conceded eight goals in their last two home games, it is at the other end of the pitch which he believes is costing Ballymena points.
"We created more than enough chances to win the game. But it comes down to fine margins. Allen Jenkins hits the under side of the crossbar and if that had gone in it would have given us a 2-0 lead and we could have won.
"I sent Gary Liggett on in the second-half and he could have come away with the match ball. The bottom line is we need to take our chances, be more clinical in front of goal and kill games off."
Liggett reduced the deficit to one, after Jim O'Hanlon and Marcus Kane had given the Glens a 3-1 lead, but it needed Alan Teggart's second goal in stoppage time to make the scoreline closer than it should have been.
It is now four wins and a draw from their last five games for Glentoran, and with a settled team there is now a belief that they can maintain momentum.
"There is a big incentive for the young lads going into next week's game (at Dungannon). Our squad is very naive, young and inexperienced, as we showed when giving away sloppy goals in the second-half, so it is a big learning curve," added Patterson.
Ballymena: Addis, McCullagh (Liggett, 61 mins), Munster, Taylor, Ruddy, Kane, Taggart, Surgenor (McClellan, 72 mins), Jenkins, Cushley (Robinson,72 mins), Teggart.
Glentoran: Morris, O'Neill, Bradley, Callacher, Hill, Stewart; M Clarke, Kane, O'Hanlon; Miskimmin, R Clarke (McGuigan, 86 mins)
Referee: Colin Burns (Newtownabbey)